Well, anyone who thinks the Lions get special favours from the officials in the league can look at Friday’s game against the Calgary Stampeders to see that just isn’t the case.
As is so often the case in sports, you get breaks and you have them go against you as well. On Friday night a critical 3rd quarter play that went against the Lions changed the course of the game, and set the Stampeders up for a 27-18 victory at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.
With the score tied at 17-17 the Stamps had the ball and quarterback Henry Burris launched a pass that was “caught” by Nik Lewis. The ball popped out when Lewis made contact with ground. CFL rules say the receiver must survive contact with the ground for a pass to be complete. The ball popped out on contact with the ground and was snatched out of the air by Barron Miles and the ruling on the field was an interception. The Stamps challenged the play and the league officials ruled Lewis made the catch and was down by contact. The Stamps scored the go ahead touchdown on the following play and the Lions never recovered.
Bad penalties, missed receivers, and continually finding themselves in 2nd and long did the Lions in in the second half, wasting what was looking to be their best effort of the season.
Both Martell Mallett and Joffrey Reynolds had big nights on the ground, but it was the Stamps defense that buckled down in the second half. A 4th quarter Buck Pierce interception pretty much sealed the deal.
Reynolds finished the night with 157 yards rushing, once again exposing the Lions weak run stopping defense, which has been an issue all season. The Lions special teams also failed them once again. After opening the scoring on an impressive drive early in the second quarter on a Martell Mallett 25 yard touchdown run the Lions surrendered a 75 yard return on the kickoff, transferring whatever momentum they had built up back to the Stamps, who would score four plays later on a seven yard Henry Burris run.
“Demetris Summers’ kickoff return gave us some momentum,” Stampeders coach John Hufnagel said. “We scored some points on that. Then when B.C. scored we were able to answer. Every time they scored, we answered.”
Buck Pierce had a decent night for the Lions, but the crucial interception in the fourth sealed the Lions fate. Then with the Lions driving and needing four yards to keep the drive alive late in the game, Pierce through a ball in the dirt to Martell Mallett with Paris Jackson wide open on a deeper route.
The loss dropped the Lions to 5-7 on the season, and any hopes of challenging for the division are starting to fade. They’ll need help from other teams for that to happen, and they’ll have to help themselves starting next week when the Saskatchewan Roughriders pay a visit to BC Place. The Lions are looking more and more like they’ll be slotting into a cross over spot in the east if they hope to get to Calgary in November.
- Martell Mallett: 15 carries, 136 yards and 1 TD
- Buck Pierce: 17 for 27 236 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.
- The Stampeders honoured Wally Buono before the game.
- Nose Tackle Steve Williams made his Lions debut and was quickly dubbed “Little T” by those of us watching the game, because of his last name and his resemblance of former Lions great Tyrone Williams.